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We spend loads of time researching our options on how to emigrate but don't even think twice about looking at travel security and/or costs.

Buying a cheap flight ticket with a budget airline will quite often cost more in the long run if you start adding everything up. They fly to/from remote airports. You have to get to/from those airports. The allow less luggage and sting you on the excess. You buy food in flight. Somtimes you might have to stay in a hotel before your flight as it is leaving so early you can't get there by train/bus to catch the flight. It's worth looking at the over all costs, luggage allowances and calculating the cost for excess luggage to see which works best for you.

Booking the flight is a good start. is heavily advertised on TV however - I find most deals on there are more expensive than via expedia. Itasoftware is not a flight booking site. Itasoftware is probably the best search engine to find cheapest option with the regular carriers such as Air Canada, BMI, BA, United and so on. You can search on specific date or in a span of 30 days (you set start date), one way flights and multi segments. When you've picked the flight you want, print out the information and take that to your local travel agent. They can then book the flight for you using the flight codes.

Finding the best seat lists just about every airline there is with a seat map and information on which seat is the best and which you should stay away from. Note that Seatguru do not list budget airlines. At time of writing this wiki the all new shiny with bells and whistles Boeing 777 on Air Canada is not listed. However - if that is what you want it looks like it flies every day at 1pm out of Heathrow to Toronto and it's getting great reviews.

Get more from your flight

You will probably do more than one trip to Canada before you do your official landing. It could be worth looking at joining a frequent flyer club for a particualr airline. As you are going to be based in Canada using Air Canada's Aeroplan is the most logical option. With each flight you take you gain frequent flyer miles. If you bank with CIBC and manage to get an aerogold credit card you will get miles on the dollars you spend every day using that card. You could even get 15.000 miles just for applying and successfully becoming approved an aerogold visa card with CIBC. Those 15.000 miles can be used towards flights or shopping for your new home. But most importantly - what ever club you join, make sure you put all your travel towards that alliance and soon you could be looking at free (well, almost) trips or even a free upgrade to business class when you finally go for your landing. That business lass upgrade will also give you up to twice as much luggage allowance.

The best place to find out about which frequent flyer program suits you best is at WARNING!! Flyertalk is probably the most addictive site there is. Once you've figured out how to play the numbers game you will also be addicted to flying and will find yourself racing around the globe on milage runs or segment runs just to reach that next benefit level with lounge access, extra luggage alloance, priority boarding etc.


Hand luggage

After the bomb alert august 2006 it has been all over the news that security got stricter and it is staying strict. It has lapsed a little so now you can travel with carry on (which you couldn't directly after) but there is a size restriction and your limited to one piece.

However - airlines will in many cases have a lower size restriction than the regulated max size allowance on carry on. Plus they will have a weight restriction as well. Some airlines as low as 6 kilos. There is NO exception as in handbags, laptop bags, camera bags. One carry on - that's it. Having said that - musical instruments such as ONE guitar is allowed as hand luggage in addition to the regulated one bag.

Checked in luggage

Checked in luggage is generally 23 kilos per bag on long haul and no more than 2 bags per person in economy. That will give you a total of 46 kilos. NO AIRLINE will let you check in a bag that weighs more than 32kilos. That is due to health and safety of the baggage handlers as they shitft bags manually. Bags weighing more than 32 kilos must go as cargo.

Excess fees

Excess fees varies with each airline. Some will charge a flat rate per x-kilos regardless if you are 1, 5 or 10 over limit. Some will charge x£ per kilo. Always check with the airline website and NOT with a third party site as the airline will/should have the correct information on what THEY allow.

Security checks

(what not to wear and what not to pack)

Wearing metal belt buckles etc will trip metal detectors and will delay the security screening. If you are in a hurry don't tempt fate. You could miss your flight and it will be no-ones fault but your own as you haven't done your research.

Laptops have to be taken out of the bags and laid in a separate tray for x-ray. Nothing else is allowed in that tray with that laptop.

Mobile phones, PDAs etc, will trigger metal detectors and regardless of that fact has to go in tray with anything else you carry. As do your jacket, coat, often shoes, hat, cap, scarf.

Jewelry (gold, silver) will not set off detectors and screeners are inconsistent when it comes to wrist watches.

The luqid ban prevents you from bringing aboard a bottle that is larger than the stipulated 100ml regardless if it is empty or not. All liquids have to be in a clear re-sealable plastic bag no bigger than a small sandwich bag you buy at tesco. You are only allowed ONE such bag with liquids. All other liquids has to go in the checked bag.

Lighters are no longer permitted in carry on NOR in the checked bag. That collectable Ronson, Dunhill or Zippo could be fedexed to your destination. A zippo can have it's insides removed (fuel wad, flint, wick) and once at destination you can buy new insides to make it usable again. New and unused lighters with no gas (and never have had gas inside) can in some cases be allowed.

If you have long hair you may be asked to run your fingers through your hair just to prove you are not hiding anything. (I've been asked to undo the ponytail and shake through the hair).

Be polite, smile and thank the security for making sure you have a safe flight and they will be nice to you as well and you will go through rather smoothly. Co-operate and they won't go to town with you.

Killing boredom and staying alive

It's a good thing to get a paperback book or something. Buy from charity shops or second hand shops so you can leave it in the seat at the end of the flight (if you have finished it) and someone else might pick it up. Or a couple of magazines to read. Bring along your media player (Just don't leave it in your seta when you're done with it. I bet someone would be happy if you did but I don't think you'd find it amusing.) with fully charged battery. It's a long flight to where you are going. Your laptop might be able to play DVD movies, put a few in your bag, unless your flying with an airline that has the state of the art in your seat video on demand gadgets. If you're lucky, you might even have a power port for your laptop so can play games. Just keep all electronics turned off at take off and landing. Make sure wireless card on laptop is deactivated and don't you even look at the "on" button of your mobile phone while in flight.

Get up and walk around every so often. Keep the circulation going. Take an aspirin (unless your doctor says anything different) the night before your flight and another in the morning. It's a blood thinner and prevents blood clots. Blood clots can travel through your body and can be fatal.

Drink water - not alcohol! Unless you are on a budget airline, water is free. You can bring your own water bottle. Buy it in the duty free as it is screened and you will get more that 100ml with you.

You've heard all about the dreaded food on board. United Airlines server decent tasting meals. A hint could be to pre-order vegetarian food but if you are hoping for an upgrade - forget it. Pre-ordering vegetarian is the best way to not get a last minute upgrade by the gate.

An eye mask could be useful if you plan to sleep and your seat mate wants to read. Melotonin can help you sleep on board. Earplugs to shut out engine noise (and the screaming kids won't be as loud).

Before you recline your seat - check that the person behind you is not eating or has his laptop up as you could crack the screan. Give the guy a bit of a heads up and then recline. IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO RECLINE THE SEAT - if the seat can be reclined. The person behind you has no right to deny you this tiny privilege. If he does and screams blue murder about space - he should ahve booked a business class ticket.

If a dispute can not be resolved in the first attempt - call a flight attendant and let them deal with it. Air rage is even less fun than road rage and could be very expensive if flight is diverted and requesting emergency landing.

A long haul flight could be the same as a mini vacation. No beds to make, no dishes to do, food and drinks served at your seat. Make the most of it and enjoy your flight.

When you've landed

One of the best ways to attract attention and increase chances of 3rd degree questioning is by switching on your mobile phone and checking messages or calling someone before you have cleared customs. If you can wait, do. If you can't wait, walk slowly, check your messages as soon as you leave the plane and turn off your phone before you get to luggage collection and don't turn it back on again until you are clear on the other end.


Coming soon

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